The Pokemon Sword and Shield frenzy is growing out of control, as it always does following the announcement of a main series Pokemon title. Pokemon communities are filled with fanart and fiction surrounding the game's protagonists and starter Pokemon: Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble. But one piece of art, rumored to be a leaked concept of Scorbunny's final evolution, is gathering more attention than most. Unfortunately, it's completely fake and was never intended to be confused for a real leak.
The rumor stems from an image of a rocket-powered bunny Pokemon with large ears that can turn into jet wings. The rumor gained credence due to it bearing similarities to leaked concept art for Rowlett, Litten, and Popplio well before the launch of Pokemon Sun and Moon. The Scorbunny evolution concept art was also "leaked" well before the announcement of Pokemon Sword and Shield, leading to it being spread virally as of the games' announcement.
That a professional-appearing fire-bunny piece of concept art was making the rounds as Nintendo itself announced a fire-bunny starter for Pokemon Sword and Shield was enough to make it go viral. But it was still met with serious skepticism due to its stylistic differences from the Sun/Moon art, as well as how the "Confidential" tag in the corner seeming to blur over icons for Instagram and Facebook.
Those Instagram and Facebook icons now make much more sense, as someone has stepped forward claiming that they created the Scorbunny concept art mid-2018 and that 4chan erased their name from it. Instagram user flafla.kim_global offered up both a reference screenshot of his initial posting of the evolution, as well as a photo of previously unreleased sketches he did of the fake Pokemon, confirming himself as the original creator.
One only needs to go to Kim's Facebook page, which is filled with art and original Pokemon creations using the same art style as the Scorbunny evolution to see the truth of the matter. It was an original piece of art that coincidentally turned out to be the same art and type of one of Sword and Shield's starters. The talented Pokemon fan has even said he'd love to work for Game Freak.
Pokemon Sword and Shield release in late 2019 exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.